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Webby Awards

Project Description is a site of over 3 million pages, receiving approximately 300 million visitors annually. On November 5, 2004 IBM launched its first site-wide redesign in four years, and the largest single deployment of a new design in IBM's history. This project, called "One IBM Web Experience," was deployed across nine countries (Australia, Canada, China, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, the UK and the United States), bringing an improved online experience to over 1.6 million web pages in six languages. The new site features task-based navigation directly from the home page, making it easier for users to learn, shop, get support or manage their IBM relationship. It also features a lighter and more modular visual design that's consistent with the look of IBM's newest products. Deployment of the new design and navigation powered by search-behind-the-scenes will be completed worldwide in 2005.

What makes it different or better
The new is different in two ways. The first of these is task-based navigation, a model in which content is organized to support specific user tasks -- instead of being organized around product lines or IBM's internal structure. On a site the size of, with over 200 sub-sites, this is a major transformation. Beyond reorganizing content, the task-based navigation model also features innovative tools to assist the user.

Consider notebook computers. A user wishing to learn about these products can click on Notebooks in the "Learn about" module on the home page. Using search technology, the site will then dynamically build a menu page showing the most relevant links in five categories: Features, Documentation, News, Accessories and Financing. But if the same user was ready to shop for specific features, she could instead click on Notebooks in the "Shop for" module and access a faceted browsing tool that enables her to zero in on the model she wants by choosing attributes in her own priority order. Once this user had her new machine, she could get various types of technical support through the "Get support" module or manage her orders, contracts, inventory and payments through "Manage my account." IBM's adoption of task-based navigation supports its initiative of transforming from a static, organization-centric website into a dynamic, user-centered portal.

The second change to is in visual design. The new site extends aspects of the company's renowned industrial design aesthetic to the web. Most users will not consciously realize that the site's increased use of black, of diagonal lines, or of chiseled corners are echoes of IBM's new product designs. They will, however, perceive a stronger, more consistent and more current brand identity. At the same time, the new design system moves away from treating a web page as a single large (and implicitly static) object. Instead, the new design treats pages as collections of modules assembled in a dynamic environment. While the page still works as a unit, it feels both lighter and more flexible than in the past.

The new design was validated with worldwide user testing and expert evaluation by user engineering professionals. Since launch, it has been praised by industry analysts and has also driven increased traffic to key areas of the site.

IBM Webby Award Category Submissions


As you explore the new, these links will provide you additional insight into the navigation and responsiveness central to the new design. These are provided in support of the five award categories:

Best Home / Welcome Page
Task-based Navigation Home Page (Learn, Shop, Get Support, Manage) and associated tools
The site features task-based navigation directly from the home page, making it easier for users to learn, shop, get support or manage their IBM relationship. For example, the Servers & Storage link under "Shop for" has shown an increase of 665% over the prior "Intel-Based server" link. Traffic to Notebooks and Desktops are up 161% and 178%, respectively.

Best Navigation
Navigation system based on customers' wishes rather than IBM product lines
Deeper content: Traffic to the Business Consulting Services home page increased and visitors are staying longer within the IBM Global Services area since the launch. People find information quicker and go deeper than before - without having to understand IBM's structure.

Best Practices
Task-based interface: Highlights the activities visitors want to complete and provides one-click access to pages with valuable content. Targeted content links: Used for "Learn about" links, connects to pages with relevant content from many levels of the site in an easy to use interface. Support and My Account links added on home page. Call me and Text chat features updated increasing the ability of web visitors to chat or talk with someone who can help them take the next step in their decision process. Early results report Customer Satisfaction goal attainment increased from 1-2 points in the U.S., to as high as 7-8 points in the UK and Japan.

IT Hardware
Product finder for Hardware
Traffic to Product finders - faceted browsing tools -- has increased 194% since the November launch, and Special Offers traffic is up 319%.

Notebook finder
Desktop finder
Server finder

IT Software / Services
Software and Services content
"Learn about Software" dynamically aggregates content from across the domain into one Software products page. "Learn about business consulting" has increased traffic to Business Consulting Services from the home page up 200%.

The attached presentation is the tutorial created to educate IBM's sales and marketing reps about the benefits and features of the new site to help them highlight these in conversations with their customers. At six weeks past launch, the statistics included are indicators of the early impact the new design is having on customer satisfaction and goal attainment.

One IBM Web Experience Briefing (3MB .ppt)

Software used
Adobe Photoshop and Illustrator, IBM WebSphere

Hardware used
IBM ThinkPad notebooks, IBM IntelliStation workstations and IBM eServers

Materials used

Fonts used
Verdana, Helvetica Neue

Release date

Kevin Chiu
Marc Wisniewski
Kimberly Knight
Meghan Widman
Dmitriy Polyakov
Taka Anai

IBM Contacts

Lee Dierdorff
Vice President, Global Web Strategy & Enablement,
1133 Westchester Ave,
White Plains, NY 10604

John Rosato
Manager, Global Web Experience Design,
1133 Westchester Ave,
White Plains, NY 10604

Charles Chesnut
Manager, User Experience Design,
1133 Westchester Ave,
White Plains, NY 10604

Kevin Chiu
Creative Director,
1133 Westchester Ave,
White Plains, NY 10604

Kimberly Knight
1133 Westchester Ave,
White Plains, NY 10604

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